Sprouts! Year-Round Freshness with High Nutrition

freshly sprouted vegetables
 
 
Sprouts are exactly what they sound like: sprouted seeds for consumption. Common edible sprouts include alfalfa, red clover, radish, beans, peas, kale and broccoli sprouts. Microgreens get a lot of press these days, and while they are also great, they tend to be a bit more involved than sprouts, requiring dirt or a growing medium. Sprouts only require water and a well drained container, such as a mason jar topped with cheesecloth. Simple! You don’t even need sunshine to do this.
 
Growing sprouts is a quick, near instant gratification process that is fun for kids and adults alike and makes for a great winter project when fresh greens may be less available in certain areas. Sprouting the seeds releases many more enzymes and antioxidants that may not be present in the seed alone or in the mature vegetable. This change from seed to sprout also makes the nutrition much easier to digest and makes the protein, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, saponins, bio-flavoniods, carotenes, indoles, isoflavones, sulpherophanes, phytosterols, flavonetricins more available for the body to absorb.
 
So how do you do it? Find some high quality seeds of your choice, you can start with a small seed pack that will last you quite a few batches or you can also buy in bulk online. Grab a clean quart mason jar, cheesecloth and a rubber band for a simple setup, or you can purchase special sprouting containers online if you prefer.
 
Sprouting 101
Using a quart mason jar, soak 1 tablespoon of seeds in water, covering the seeds with water by an inch or so. Soak 8-12 hours.
 
Place cheesecloth over your jar mouth and secure with a rubber band. Drain the seeds and rinse well with fresh water. Continue to rinse and drain well twice per day until sprouts have green leaves, about 4-6 days. Seeds should show signs of sprouting within 24-48 hours.
 
Once green leaves have appeared, place the sprouts in a bowl and fill with water. The un-sprouted seeds will sink to the bottom and the hulls will float to the top. Strain off the hulls and discard, strain out the sprouts and allow to drain. Discard any un-sprouted seeds.
Drain sprouts well and store in the refrigerator to halt further growing and preserve lifespan of the sprouts.
 
Sprouting Tips
Seeds will sprout best in a semi-warm environment such as 68-72 degrees Fahrenheit.
 
As with any moist environment, there is a potential for mold. This can be avoided by rinsing well and draining well twice daily.
 
So what now? What should you do with these sprouts? Eat them raw by topping scrambled eggs, salads, sandwiches, burgers, stir-fry or soups. The possibilities are endless! In the long days of winter, sprouting provides a fresh food and can be a great project for kids to witness. Happy sprouting!
 
 
Article adapted from MotherEarthNews.com.

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